Annual event in Washington D.C. celebrates accomplishments of today’s farmers and ranchers and the vital role agriculture plays in our society.
Hundreds of agribusiness professionals, media, association and government officials came together at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2017, as part of agriculture’s annual National Ag Day celebration.
The morning event was organized by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA), U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) and National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) and commenced with a panel on SMART Farming: Producing Sustainable, Nutritious Food for Life.
Moderated by Greg Horstmeier, DTN, Editor-in-Chief, panelists addressed how today’s farmers and ranchers use the latest technology and methods to grow and raise more sustainable food with less impact on our environment. On the panel, speakers included Chip Bowling, Maryland crop farmer and USFRA Vice Chairman, Beverly Flores, John Deere Media and Communications Manager, Lauren Schwab, Ohio pig farmer and USFRA Face of Farming & Ranching and Andrew Walmsley, American Farm Bureau Federation, Director, Congressional Relations.
Key highlights on the panel showcasing SMART Farming included:
• “On our farm, we utilize conservation tillage for soil health. We want the soil and nutrients to stay in the fields and not our waterways” – Chip Bowling
• “Agriculture is built on technology & innovation, it shapes what we do. Let’s reassure others about farming today” – Beverly Flores
• “We continually improve how we house our pigs. We’ve adapted to where we can give individualized care to each sow” – Lauren Schwab
• “Engage with others and put rumors to rest. People just want to know their food is safe to feed their families” – Andrew Walmsley
Additionally, Ray Starling, Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Trade, and Food Assistance contributed to the event by offering remarks around the new administration as well as how we as an industry need to ‘Brag on Ag’. During the Press Club Event, Mr. Starling announced a Presidential Proclamation declaring March 21 as National Ag Day which received a resounding applause by attendees.
During his remarks, Ray Starling shared, “I see our priorities for agriculture falling into four different buckets, which include: promoting agricultural trade, providing farmers with access to a reliable, affordable workforce, halting the regulatory onslaught for farmers and ranchers, and improving infrastructure in rural America.” His hope for this administration is to “leave behind a mechanism where agriculture continually has a seat at the table.” And he emphatically stated, “American farmers & ranchers are the heart and soul of this country.”
The Press Club event also featured the presentation of the Ag Day Essay Contest scholarship. Annette Degnan from CHS presented Bridger Gordon from Whitewood, S.D., received a $1,000 prize for his winning essay. Click here to view the winning essay online.
The Charles Eastin Award was presented to Sue Tebow, creator of the Facebook page agri.CULTURE, which showcases the unique culture of the real people working in agriculture. The Eastin Award honors an outstanding individual who stands out as an advocate for accurate communications between rural and urban audiences.
The event also honored the four John Deere Outstanding Young Farmers for 2016. In attendance were Kevin and Jennifer Wolsky, Jennifer Niederer, Joseph and Ida DeFrancesco, Nathan Youngquist and Brooke Loisel. The Outstanding Young Farmer program began in the 1940s.
Click here to watch a recording of the entire Press Club Event.
In addition to bringing awareness of National Ag Day at the Press Club Event, USFRA CEO Randy Krotz placed an op-ed in The Hill for National Ag Day, titled Our Food System is Flourishing, Not Broken to celebrate the many accomplishments of today’s farmers and ranchers and help inform the general public about the vital role agriculture plays in our society.